Workplace wellness is important for a whole host of reasons, and more and more business are taking it seriously.
Engaging in a workplace wellness programme used to be a nice added extra and was used as an employee reward. But the tide is turning, as organisations of all sizes are understanding the benefits of taking care of their staff.
According to the CIPD, 87% of senior manager say workplace wellness is on their agenda.
Why Is Workplace Wellness Important?
Well the answer lies in the wider society as a whole. In general, more and more people are becoming health conscious and are striving for a healthy lifestyle.
Almost half (43%) of British shoppers are buying organic food, and 72% of shoppers are buying food with less salt, fat, and sugar in. Veganism is having a serious moment as Veganuary became a thing in 2019. Social media feeds are clogged with images of fitness gurus.
Drinking and smoking is down, gym membership is up. On the whole, we care more about our mental and physical health than ever before.
This means that people are more attracted to workplaces that embrace and enhance their overall wellbeing.
Despite all this, absenteeism and presenteeism are on the rise, meaning we are taking care of ourselves on one hand, but being pushed to work longer and harder on the other, particularly in sectors that have seen a reduction in funding.
Workplace Wellness Keeps The Best Talent
According to this article, most people leave their job for one of the following reasons:
- ‘Insufficient pay or unfair pay practices
- Lack of honesty/integrity/ethics
- Lack of trust in senior leaders
- Lack of work-life balance
- Unhealthy/undesirable culture’
Interestingly, according to the same article, employers believe that staff are leaving because:
- ‘Insufficient pay or unfair pay practices
- Unmet personal goals and dreams
- Excessive workload
- Unexpected job/career opportunity
- Lack of feedback or recognition’
It is telling that there is a disconnect between what the employer thinks is happening and what the employee says is happening. It suggests that there is too little communication between employees and employers. For whatever reason, employers are caring too little about their employee’s wellbeing, despite a reported rise in workplace health and wellbeing.
When it is done right, workplace wellness aids retention and staff loyalty by demonstrating you, the employer, value the health and wellbeing of your team above all else.
When it is done badly, or as a tick box exercise, workplace wellness achieves nothing.
How Does Workplace Health and Wellbeing Boost Productivity?
Workplace wellness programmes can have a massive impact on the productivity of your staff.
First of all, absent staff aren’t productive. Absences caused by injury, illness, or mental health issues are reduced with an effective workplace wellness programme.
An effective workplace wellness programme should educate staff on how to sit properly in their work area, how to move safely, and other ways to reduce or prevent musculoskeletal issues.
They should encourage and educate people how to eat and sleep better to prevent colleagues becoming run down and vulnerable to bugs and colds.
Encouraging exercise during or after work means staff are physically stronger and less prone to injury, are happier, sleep better, and have a better immune system.
Facilitating better sleep means staff are alert and can carry on from 9 ‘til 5 without feeling like it is a grind.
Workplace wellness shouldn’t, therefore, just be access to counselling and free eye tests. These things should be included, but part of a much wider solution and ongoing programme.
What Is A Good Workplace Wellness Programme?
A good workplace wellbeing programme should be totally tailored to your organisation. Every company has different challenges and different staff. An estate agent in rural Exeter will have different opportunities and threats to wellbeing than a foundry in Sheffield, for example.
A 360˚ appraisal should be the first step in any corporate wellness programme. You should take stock of the risks, attitudes, and opportunities facing each department. If you can, collecting data on the current wellbeing of your staff should be a part of that.
This is where a wellbeing app comes in handy. The Wellspace wellbeing app, for example, allows staff to input their emotional wellbeing, their quality of sleep, and their physical activity. It also allows them to draw conclusions on the reasons for feeling how they do. Straight away it encourages your staff to move more, eat healthily, and develop better sleeping habits.
This means that over a short amount of time, you can identify the areas your staff need most support with.
Once you have the data, you can start to pull together initiatives that will help your staff feel healthier and happier.
A good workplace wellness programme should look at the holistic health of the employee and offer practical solutions and advice. This should include sleep, mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing, nutrition, energy, work life balance, financial health, and relationship health.
We aren’t advocating that you immerse yourselves in your employee’s lives. An effective workplace wellbeing solution equips your staff with the tools and time they need to help them improve on their own.
Finally, the gold standard of a workplace wellness programme is one that is fluid. It has measurable outcomes and can demonstrate its effectiveness. It adapts to the changes in your staff’s lives.
In a Nutshell…
Workplace wellness in important because it reduces staff turnover, aids retention, reduces absence, and boosts productivity.
A good wellness programme is tailored, holistic, and measurable.